There is a prevailing notion that being single is equivalent to being lonely and in search of a partner. I belong to the school of thought that – thankfully – debunks this, and is out to deconstruct the stereotype that every person needs a partner to survive or be complete. I hesitate to call this feminism because it applies to women just as much as men. For those of us who are divorced, for example, the trauma of a broken partnership is so deeply engrained, making the journey towards recovery a divergent one, with many paths to choose from.
One of the most annoying questions to be asked these days, even more so the months leading up to and shortly after the divorce was “so, do you have a new man in your life now?” I find this an offensive question because it automatically puts me in a category of being a woman who cannot survive without a partner, a weakling who needs a man by her side at all times.
Why is it essential for people to have a partner at all times? As if not having a partner diminishes my value as a human being or my credibility as a strong independent woman.
I grew up in the shadow and rule of a man. I spent the better part of my adult life in the shadow of a man. And I lost myself in the process. I was defined as being the “daughter of” or the “wife of“, followed closely by the “mother of” and after a while I forgot who the real me was and that I had dreams to pursue. Fast forward a few years, after a long and painful journey of re-shaping my identity, catching up with the long overdue dreams, and finally happy with the woman in the mirror, I have learned that loneliness is not part of my active vocabulary anymore. I like having my independence, knowing that whatever I have become in the past three years is the product of an inner strength that refused to succumb to social pressure and stereotypes.
Oh, and that notion that a romantic evening requires a partner? That can be flushed down the toilet as far as I am concerned. Candlelight evenings with Frank Sinatra crooning My Way at full volume in the background is a hell of an experience alone, incredibly soul-moving and yet fulfilling. I will not deny that there are days when the struggle becomes almost unbearable that I wish I had a partner to turn to, not to share the burden or relieve me of it, but simply to be a fountain of solace.
Maybe it’s just me and my peculiar sense of wanting to prove to myself that I can do this alone and all my mistakes will make me a stronger person. Ask me how I am dealing with XYZ or even what my next move will be or even the when my new publication is ever coming out, but for crying out loud, never ask me if I am lonely because I am single. I won’t even dignify that with an answer.
One is powerful. It is a beginning. It defines presence, indivisibility, and uniqueness. Hell yes, I am proud of the power of one.